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Reasonably well acted, poorly written show with much potential.
Let me start with the fact that I want to like this show and every time I think that it may be going somewhere good it bolts off on a weird tangent led by a mediocre writing team. Campy and goofy can work(see "the Tick" or the 60's version of Batman) and be enjoyable and humorous...the requirement for this to work being that said show doesn't take itself too seriously(count this as a major fail). I'm okay with touching on current events and issues, writing shows structured around current headlines whether that involves gay marriage, alzheimers, gun control, etc and creating backstories to fit before jumping to ridiculous conclusions got old about 1/2 way through the first of these innumerable episodes. Weak, simpering, conflicted, whiny heroes that spend the majority of their time getting spanked across the small screen provide a priceless glimpse into the failed ROM-COM heads of the team of writers that seem intent on getting this one cancelled.
What could work well with this show:
The actors make the best of what they have to work with. If the writing could turn around I expect they could turn this into a series memorable for something more than butchering a strong franchise.
Special effects are okay on a TV budget.
If they pick a theme(dark, light, campy, or whatever) this could be a decent show...which brings me right back to the POTENTIAL.
All in all, free on Netflix and worth what you paid as long as you don't have to watch the commercials. Worth the time if you want to watch something from the franchise and it is too soon to watch Smallville or Lois and Clark reruns again.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
If you are expecting a Shakespearean Masterwork...
...you probably should avoid movies based on comic books. Fun summer blockbuster...now you got it. Ignore the trolls with the 1/10's and the 10/10's from the fan boys and you are left with a good flick.
For me the pace was good and it didn't feel overly long. CGI was throughout(as expected) without being the star of the movie. Decent storyline and plot and very well scripted. Amusing in spots...a bit dark in spots.
Plenty of star power in this one and marvel continues the humanizing of heroes that it invented(the humanizing that is) back in the 60's.
Short review, but ultimately it comes down to I recommend the theatre for this one and don't regret spending the cash even a bit.
Black Panther (2018)
...and I'm just going to get right to it.
Acting was well done across the board. Visuals were amazing in spots and in others the CGI was clunky. Directing was OK and the production values were good.
The not so good:
There were some slow spots in this one...lots of them. Unlike most Marvel movies, this one seems to lack much of any sense of humor. I understand they are doing an origin story with the first film for BP...they spent way too much time on it. This may have worked well were this a stronger story, not so much here. Not to give too much away if you haven't seen it, entitled rich prince becomes king(and superhero), loses kingship then gains it back(along with powers and a suit), because he is...you know...entitled.
Considering the time they spent developing this story I would expect that there would have been much more character development, but in this case it was sorely lacking. The "villain" is the most developed character in the film and ultimately the most likable having at least a motivation. The titular hero of the movie, aside from having been born the son of an absolute monarch, chowing down on the African equivalent of peyote, is not(in my opinion) well developed, relatable or especially likable. Other characters are 2D, but honestly still more likable than our hero.
I wish I had skipped the big screen and waited for Netflix.
Only the Brave (2017)
Very well done...
...presentation of a true story. I will tell you that I went into this one fairly blind, beyond knowing that it was based on a true story about firefighters and I don't think it can be considered a spoiler to let you in on the fact that it is not a "feel good" movie. That having been said...
Acting: A+ all around from the veterans to the newer faces. Brolin stands out.
Based on a true story that is well worth telling with a few clunky spots in the sub-plots.
Great cinematography and use of special effects.
Quick paced and engaging. Well directed.
All in all, well worth the price of admission and wish I had seen it in the theater.
Mythica: A Quest for Heroes (2014)
An AD&D module come to life...
...in a good way. Not even sure that's a thing anymore, but those of you of an age, and geekish as myself, will know what I'm talking about.
The story moves along well and is surprisingly well written. Acting is well done by the relatively unknown cast. If you are a fan of Sorbo, besides being in the promo photos, his role is minimal(as in maybe 3 min screen time). Plot, well I'm not giving anything away telling you this is a fantasy quest movie, heck its in the title.
Direction is well done.
CGI is...ah...well...there is some CGI. Considering the extremely low crowd-funded budget it wasn't terrible. Costumes and creatures weren't bad.
Overall, not a bad way to spend a couple hours and worth a binge watch of the whole series if you have Amazon Prime.
...on all sorts of levels.
If only the great cast on this film had something to work with this film could have achieved at least mediocrity. A few mildly entertaining performances(though not believable mind you) made the film a bit more bearable.
And now onto the bad:
Lame retread plot combines with 2D characters and cliched dialogue to make this film seem much longer than 1:49. What's with the kid and the dog? If you are throwing science into the storyline could you at least has an elementary level understanding?
In terms of CGI, its been done much better repeatedly over the last 20 years.
Overall, this summer block remains unbusted.
Wait for this one to show up free somewhere if you feel the need to see it.
The Man from Earth: Holocene (2017)
The sequel to an amazing movie...
...dumbed down for a new generation. Intelligent, engaging script updated for an ADHD audience to view while texting about the latest social media post they saw. Where the original used dialogue and interaction between the characters to comment on the nature of faith, religion and the nature of existence, this version combines the worst feature of a Hardy Boys mystery(sans mystery) with a teen angst drama in a dismal fail. A weak attempt to tie to global issues left me feeling that this was a sales pitch for a paleo diet.
I actually didn't hate the acting in this film and thought Smith, Williams and the Star Trek alumni did a fair job with an inherently weak script. Ultimately they were the sole reason this one earns more than one star for me.
Interesting marketing strategy, though I expect that this has more to do with the fact that that no one was willing to attach their studio name to this one, and I was actually willing to donate a bit had the movie risen above bad free TV. Had it been a 10th as good as the original I would have.
Special effects non-existent(as expected). Cinematography blah.
Released free on the net and hopefully not too many sites waste the storage space. Fan of cheesy B movies, but sometime bad is just bad. Brain floss would be helpful to keep this one from ruining the truly amazing original the name of which this slimes.
The Ritual (2017)
Low budget(at least I assume so) film that captures some of the feel of the original Blair Witch Project without the annoying, found footage, bouncing camera thing. Fairly non-existent special effects.
Unknown, at least to me, cast does a good job with this reasonably well written script. Plot... I have mixed feelings on this... seems to have started more as a psychological thriller before deciding on creature feature. Had they chosen one or the other at the start and stuck with it this would have been a much better movie.
Well directed and mostly well paced.
Decent cinematography when its not too dark.
I've seen much better and sat through much worse. Free on Netflix and I don't regret the time spent.
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
...not terrible with some amusing moments. For the most part throw away characters however the acting was okay. For me the pace was decent and while the plot was far from engaging, I wasn't especially bored either.
Pretty much everything. Nothing particularly stands out to recommend or condemn this one, so if you have a couple hours to kill on a snowy afternoon and aren't feeling like pushing a shovel this is an okay filler.
Free on Netflix and worth what you paid.
Electric Dreams (2017)
An above average anthology...
...with some very interesting stories, though a bit of a mixed bag for me.
Not quite so much of a dark twist as Black Mirrors, a bit more Outer Limits than Twilight Zone, I actually found this a rather enjoyable season. Some of the episodes delve a bit too deeply into socio-political issues for me to find enjoyable(call me shallow if you want, I prefer my entertainment interesting and...well...entertaining, and some of these episodes push a bit too far into preachy for my taste) which is the reason this is a 7 rather than a 10.
Acting: Whether the faces are newcomers or one of the plethora of familiar faces the acting in this series has been top shelf in my opinion.
Writing: Smart and well done. Occasionally too focussed on making their statement at the cost of story. While there are numerous familiar plots, they are well presented with some interesting twists.
Special effects, CGI and production values outstanding in context.
Overall, well done and well worth the price of admission. Looking forward to season 2.
Black Lightning (2018)
Don't think this one is a keeper...
...but stranger things have happened. In order for it to stick around I expect they will have to make some major changes.
I usually at this point separate into a good and bad section but have decided to forego that in favor of...
Williams does an okay job in the title role and the various supporting cast does a decent job as well. The writing is cliched, ripped from the headlines, caucasian executives idea of the African American life in the US garbage. I have to believe it is them that have given this one the 9 and 10 star reviews as I find it hard to believe that anyone has put this show on their "must see", can't wait for the next episode list.
The special effects give one an idea of what the 60's Batman series could have accomplished with CGI. Seriously expect a BAM! or POW! when BL punches someone. Fight choreography on the same level.
BL version of Alfred owns a taylor shop? And he lets BL go out in public in the goofy glowing suit?
The rather inevitable comparisons to Luke Cage come now...not so favorably BL.
I'll give this one through the first season, if it makes it that long, to get its act together...after all at heart I am a comic book nerd...but I am not holding out hope.
Free on the CW and worth what you paid. Well, as long as you dvr it and skip the commercials.
The Veil (2017)
This is what happens...
...when you mix pseudo-eastern philosophy at a grade school level with native american symbology(including buffalo...) with a poor screenwriter and at best(and that rarely) mediocre actors in a post-apocalyptic(?) semi fantasy setting. Sound like a mess? Yup.
Strangely enough I think the mixed euro accented actors probably bugged me more than the buckskin gis. Abysmal choreography of the fight scenes left me longing for a jumping out at you POW! ala Batman. On yet another strange note the directing somehow managed to make this 85 min loser seem like i was 4 hours long.
Fan of B movies, ok with old out of sync martial arts movies and 60s/70s Japanese samurai movies. This one is just incredibly bad on all levels.
Free on Netflix, way over priced.
...but certainly not great...in fact falls more into the "Okay" category.
Very derivative, but still a well paced action flick. Ultimately Avatar did the CGI-fest noble savage routine better(and thats saying something) however the story here is maybe a touch better. Based on a graphic novel, which admittedly I haven't read, this one is unlikely to ever see a sequel.
Chemistry was lacking between the leads, but overall the acting wasn't horrible. Young(or at least relatively unknown) cast doesn't do this one any favors.
Bottom line, it provides a relatively enjoyable 2hr eyecandy diversion. I didn't mind the money spent though if I were you I would probably wait until it shows up on netflix.
...and very watchable, though far from perfect.
Yes, it is a buddy cop movie but it does it well. The fantasy/world building story gives a bit of a fun twist to the genre.
The good first:
The acting is 1st class. Smith and Edgerton have good chemistry and the supporting cast sells their parts well.
CGI is adequate(though not earth shattering) and not overdone.
Directing was onpoint and it was fast moving.
The not so good:
The plot is pretty standard buddy cop(which isn't a horrible thing), but in conjunction with the fantasy theme there is a lot of missed opportunity. With the world they built showing a bit more of the elvish upper class society would have provided an interesting counterpoint.
Free on Netflix, but would have paid in the theater without a qualm.
Star Trek: Discovery (2017)
When you eliminate all the 10 ratings from paid hacks and 1 ratings from the trolls what you will find is a passable sci-fi series. Not good by any stretch of the imagination, but not horrible either.
Fans of previous series and indeed the franchise in general have a tendency to truly despise this rewrite of ST cannon. Those looking for a great general Sci-Fi show(outside the ST universe) probably won't hate it.
Good, such as it is:
Acting is decent.
CGI is decent.
Pace is good for me.
The not so good:
If they were going to use the name, they should have hired writers with more than a passing familiarity with the franchise.
Throughout the years ST(TOS,TNG,DS9, et al) have subtly dealt with societal issues in conjunction with entertaining story lines. STD(and did they really consider how this would be abbreviated) seems to have decided to try and tie in some stories(poorly) with their societal statements.
Probably would have given in a 6, but CBS wants me to pay for the privilege of watching this one and it just ain't worth it.
Watchable, but far from great. My suggestion is to wait til it hits a free service after they cancel it, but hey...its your cash.
Justice League (2017)
Looking for a good description...
...and all I come up with is fine. Serviceable. Good enough.
An okay story that reinforces the idea that while paying lip service to teamwork is all well and good, if you live in the DC universe it is not especially relevant without a certain individual in tights and a red cape.
Gadot gives an excellent performance reprising WW. I actually rather like Affleck's aging Batman. Momoa makes for an imposing action hero, though under utilized in this film. Miller does okay in this incarnation of the Flash, but I don't like Flash as a scared kid. Fisher is reasonably solid as Cyborg.
For me the CGI didn't take over.
Directing was spotty, but the pace was decent.
Dialogue was spotty as well, but the actors had decent chemistry.
Much better than most entries into the DCU, but not up to the high standard set by Wonder Woman.
It's watchable...might suggest waiting til it hits Netflix or Amazon though.
I watched it...
...so you don't have to.
Nauseating camera work combine with a vile plot with a reverse order theme to produce a truly unwatchable mess.
It is supposed to be disturbing, dark and artistic. I get that. It is a statement on the evils of rape, revenge and the results of such. Got it. The story has been told better in correct chronological order, better directed and acted...get over it.
Free with Amazon prime and nowhere near worth the time spent.
The Tribe (2016)
A well acted, well directed...
...invitation to take a nap.
I kept hoping for an interesting spin in this poorly written snoozefest of a movie...still waiting.
I say it was well acted by the young cast and can see where they made the most of the minimal cardboard dialogue.
Directing and cinematography are well done considering that nothing interesting actually happens.
Production values are decent for an indy but they should have spent some money on a rewrite of the script or chosen a better one to start with.
Minor twists on the Z for Zachariah plot line, but nowhere near as interesting as that young adult book was half a century ago.
Don't recommend wasting your time on this one...but again the young cast did well with what they had to work with, so your call.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
A fun, thrill ride...
...but just a bit lacking.
Let me start out by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. There were numerous funny moments, some of which pushed toward hilarious. The story was decent and ultimately this was a much better movie than the previous adventures starring the Asgardian.
The good first:
As stated previously(by me and every other commenter) this movie takes a rather light hearted and fun poke at the franchise. In terms of story it is solid and relatively consistent.
The acting, top to bottom, is first rate. Would have liked to have seen more character interaction.
In general the comedy is well placed.
Directing is spot on, fast paced start to finish.
CGI of a summer blockbuster. A well done summer blockbuster, so the CGI didn't take over in my opinion.
The not so good(but still not bad):
Would have liked to have seen more of Hopkins and especially(though it would have been a break from the story as told) some interaction between Blanchet and he would have been awesome.
Humor seemed a bit forced in spots.
Well worth the price of admission and definitely one to rewatch down the road.
Stranger Things (2016)
This is what happens...
...when you combine a great cast, intense writing of a great story, strong directing, excellent production values and wrap it together with a classic 80's soundtrack.
The good first:
A combination of an amazing young cast with some veteran older actors find more than a bit of magic.
Story is intense and engaging. A great mix of horror, scifi,and coming of age drama.
Directing is on point.
Production is well done with a nice combination of solid cinematography and solid, but not overdone, CGI.
The bad(such as it is):
Thought the 1st season dragged just a bit in the middle.
Well worth the price of admission. Expect to watch it again from the start when season 3 comes out.
The Good Doctor (2017)
...but not interesting.
Not sure what I went into this looking for. The quality writing, wittiness and charm of House was, while certainly not looked for, at least hoped for. An engaging medical drama? Would have been fine. Likable, interesting characters? Great start.
Highmore does an okay job with a role that, by its nature, is difficult to connect with.
Writing is mediocre at best. Characterization beyond Highmore is made up of 2D stock. Acting is fine as far as it goes, the lack of material seems more of an issue for the cast.
Connecting with "The Good Doctor" himself requires way more of an effort than I am willing to invest in a cookie-cutter drama like this one.
Pacing isn't terrible. There is the occasional interesting twist. Dialogue is tired, hopes for humor fled quickly. Plots for the various episodes so far are a combination of tired with some medical fantasy thrown in. Flashbacks are over used.
If you are looking for a tired reboot of ER without interesting stories or likable characters, this is probably a good choice. Free on ABC and I guess you can waste your time if that is your inclination.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Far from great...
...but far from terrible as well.
What I liked:
Story was decent and especially liked that they took it all the way back to the high school days for the web crawler. Glad they skipped yet another origin retell.
Overall acting was well done. Especially liked Keaton in the Vulture role.
CGI was well done but not over done.
What I didn't like:
Spidey develops a brief fear of heights? Really?
Not sure about the Stark supplied tech...takes too much away from Peter Parker.
Enjoyable. Not great.
Interesting true tales...
...but not exactly what I was expecting(or hoping).
What it does:
Present interesting bits from history in a somewhat engaging format.
Pick good snippets from history to dramatize.
What it doesn't do:
Kind of a short review this time as there isn't much here to review. Narrator is horrible at reading(obviously) the script. Probably made a good podcast, after enduring this one don't expect I will take the time to check it out.
Speaking of which...probably wouldn't waste my time with this one were I you. Not horrible actually...more not there than anything.
The Tick (2017)
The Tick is back...
...and while I can't say better than ever, this is a worthy production.
Not quite the fun, campy romp that the original(live) series was but still a solid entry. This still fun and amusing venture brings life back to the Tick and Arthur though with a bit darker of a theme...still not dark mind you, but a touch more realism that the original. Can't honestly say whether this is a good thing or not yet but so far it hasn't hurt it yet.
Acting is well done and especially enjoyed Martinez and Haley as Ms Lint and the Terror.
Great pacing(though with 20-30 min episodes it would have been tough to make it drag).
Modern CGI work well for the show.
More plot than the original and much better story.
Only semi-negative is that the cast isn't necessarily completely meshing for me yet, but still early in the series.
Overall, great for a quick, fun binge.
Jack's Apocalypse (2015)
Better than expected but...
...not even the genre I was expecting.
Rather expected a post apocalyptic survival movie and while there is a rather white bread version of this as the setting(ish) this is more of an exploration of addiction.
Zero budget, but decently scripted and well acted.
Special effects were non existent, but not especially needed.
At 1 hour 20 min it moved along well.
Ultimately if you head into this one expecting action or indeed anything other than a drama, you will likely be disappointed. Taken for what it actually is it is a decent flick.
Worth the time spent to watch it but never gonna be a favorite or a classic.